Israel - Orel Kimchi
Tel Aviv, December 30, 2020
Addicted to cooking
" everyone is influenced by other chefs and cooking techniques "

Conseiller Culinaire Orel Kimchi is considered to be one of the most creative and leading chefs in Israel.

As an officer in the Israeli military, Orel started cooking with a soldier who was an enthusiastic cook. Ever since, he says he has been addicted.

From Chef at the Cavalier restaurant in Jerusalem, Orel’s career began to develop. He worked for Joël Robuchon in Paris and at the Arzac restaurant in San Sebastian. At the age of 30 he won the world’s best young chef award from San Pellegrino.

In 2013, Orel established the Popina restaurant in the attractive Neve Tzedek neighbourhood of Tel Aviv. A modern restaurant located in an historic building, it is the open kitchen that is the real star and makes Popina stand out in Tel Aviv’s culinary landscape. Situated in the centre of the restaurant, the design invites dialogue between diners, the chef and his kitchen team.

Popina is a platform for Orel’s culinary creations. Orel finds it difficult to explain what makes his style of cooking individual and unique. He believes everyone is influenced by other chefs and cooking techniques, but it takes time and commitment to develop your own style, recognisable not only through the flavours but also the plating.

The menu at Popina is divided into Signature and Seasonal dishes, crafted from the finest ingredients using different cooking techniques. Signature dishes include Popina’s Steamed Buns with a Shrimp Burger or Foie Gras - an invention from Orel and his team as a tasty meal for themselves; and the Tartare of fish with a Gin & Tonic jelly invented by Orel to pay homage to his favourite cocktail.

The Revue asked Orel to name his favourite dish. “The Decadent Chicken,” he answered. “But don’t tell the other dishes.” Decadent Chicken is a roasted boneless chicken thigh served with a truffle sauce, poached egg, grilled lettuce and toasted brioche.

But Popina is not just about the food or the atmosphere. The personal touch is one of the features that makes it so special, an environment in which guests are welcomed and made to feel at home.

Amanda Roberts
Editor, Revue internationale de la Chaîne

Ed. This article was first published in the 2020 edition of the Revue internationale de la Chaîne.